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MACEDONIA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 4,705 3,712 3,400 118
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,980 1,700 1,690 111
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
25,333

Population 
2,071,210

Capital 
Skopje 

Currency
Dinar 

President
Branko Crvenkovski

Private sector 
% of GDP 
45%



Update No: 101 (27/09/05)

What's in a name?
It is extraordinary with what trivialities world statesmen are obliged to concern themselves, the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) being one of them. At NATO, the European Union and United Nations, Macedonia is known as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Greece has a province called Macedonia on the frontier with FYROM, as it insists it should be titled.
It is where Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great, came from, of whom the Greeks are inordinately proud, despite the fact that the two together conquered Ancient Greece and brought its great days to an end. But the Hellenic period that ensued did convey its marvellous culture to a far wider sphere, indeed set up the way for Rome and the modern West. Hence the pride and jealousy in not having the great name purloined by a mere remnant of Yugoslavia. Also the Macedonian province of Greece was acquired by them as a part of the spoils of defeating the Turks in the early 20th century. They have always been concerned since to 'de-slav' the province and have worried that there might be a move to reunite with the newly emerged republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
"Macedonia's path towards EU membership cannot continue unless the name issue is resolved," said Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis during a visit to Prague, Czech Republic. 
Indeed, on November 9th, the European Commission will present its opinion on Macedonia's EU perspective, which will be discussed within the Union a week later. This is a massively important moment for the Macedonians.
They would be well-advised to play along with the Greeks for the while, get into the EU and then after a decent interval raise the matter again, not in Brussels, but the UN. Time is on their side in his dispute. 'FYROM' is too cumbersome a name too survive. Everyone but the Greeks will be calling the country 'Macedonia' sooner or later - except for the Greeks and Brussels bureaucrats, who will be made to look very silly.

Macedonia upholds Orthodox bishop's jail term 
A more substantial issue is that of human rights. As the Turks could tell them, Brussels is very punctilious on the matter.
This is the worrying aspect of a recent controversial legal decision. Macedonia's supreme court in early September rejected the appeal of a renegade Orthodox bishop against an 18-month prison sentence, in a case that has soured relations with neighbouring Serbia and its powerful church establishment. 
Bishop Jovan of Ohrid, a central figure in a decades-old row between the rival Macedonian and Serb churches, was jailed on July 26th for inciting ethnic and religious hatred by holding a secret Sunday mass in a flat in the southern town of Bitola. 
Prosecutors said that calendars and other material he had published slandered the Macedonian Orthodox Church. 
The supreme court, the highest court of appeal, acquitted the bishop on two minor counts but upheld the sentence passed in August last year and confirmed by a lesser appeals court in June. 
The court "finds the said punishment is within the framework of the punishment foreseen by the law", a statement said. 
The Macedonian Orthodox church split from the Serb Orthodox Church in 1967, insisting its southwestern Lake Ohrid region was an ancient cradle of Orthodoxy and the Serb church is daughter of the Macedonian. Its self-governing status is not recognised outside Macedonia, which broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991. 
Bishop Jovan, whose name is Zoran Vraniskovski, was defrocked by the Macedonian church as a traitor two years ago for siding with the Serb Orthodox Church in the dispute. 
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has described the prison sentence as "unbelievable" and appealed to the Macedonian authorities to intervene for his release. 

EU entry the priority
The Macedonians feel themselves to be very European, whatever the Greeks may think. They wish above all to join the EU to prove it.
It does seem extraordinary that a dispute between two branches of Orthodoxy should result in a prison sentence for a leading cleric.

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EU ENTRY

Macedonia wants to be in EU by 2010, Sekerinska says 

Macedonia is aiming at European Union candidate status by the end of this year and membership by 2010, the country's Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Radmila Sekerinska said in Austria recently, New Europe reported. 
"We think that based on what we have achieved since our independence, we have qualified ourselves for negotiations for entry into the EU," she insisted. 
Sekerinska was speaking at the European Forum of political, economic and cultural discussions in the Tyrolean resort of Alpbach. "The last enlargement round (in May 2004) brought those countries democracy and economic development," she explained. "We want more or less to use the same recipe for the Balkans." 
Sekerinska told forum newspaper Albach News she already had a firm schedule in mind. "We hope that we will be a membership candidate by the end of this year. We will try to start the negotiations in spring 2006, and we will finish our job in less than four years." 
Macedonia would be ready for EU membership by 2010, but one should not give "undue importance" to the date on its own, the deputy prime minister said, adding that it was important to carry out the necessary reforms.

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FOREIGN COOPERATION

Macedonia and Kosovo sign free trade agreement 

By exchanging letters, Macedonia's Vice Premier, Minco Jordanov, and special representative and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Soren Jessen-Petersen, signed a provisional free trade agreement between Macedonia and UNMIK, the Agency of Information reported on September 5. 
UNMIK will start to implement this provisional agreement from the date of its signing, while the formalisation will follow after its ratification in Macedonia's parliament. 
The provisional agreement, which enables high level of trade liberalisation, will be implemented according to the rules of the World Trade Organisation and its duration is related with UNMIK mandate. As acknowledged, it is an asymmetric agreement. Namely, the entire export trade of products from Kosovo to Macedonia will be treated free of duty. Ninety per cent of Macedonia's export to Kosovo will be free of duties, except for products which will have gradual reduction of duty tax in two and a half- year transitional period.

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